What is the house over which Jesus Christ is the great priest? The house of God refers to the people of God (cf. Hebrews 3:1-6). In the days of the old covenant, this was Israel according to the flesh. At that time, it included all the descendants of Jacob, and it was a mixed gathering of a remnant of believers and many unbelievers. This physical nation had a physical temple or house of God. This house was only typical of the better house that Christ would build. Everything about it “came with an if”, and Israel could not keep what God by that “if” demanded.
In the days of the new covenant, this is the church that is made up of both Jews and Gentiles. The church is a spiritual house or nation (Ephesians 2:11-22) made up only of believers who are in Christ. Now there is no physical temple, because the people are the temple. See also 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:4-10. This is the house that Jesus built, and he rules over it. He is the unifying principle of membership in the house (Ephesians 2:21-22 – “in him”). You must be “in him” in order to be “part of the house”. The worship “in the house” is only and always “through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
As new covenant people, we must learn to think in conformity with spiritual realities. Since all Christ’s people form the house and he has called us to peace, we must maintain peace in the house of God. This requires a conscious focus on what we share in Christ that binds us together (Ephesians 4:3; Colossians 3:15). Every gathering of followers of Christ must strive for peace in their group. How can a group attain peace with one another? Each one must “wear the proper spiritual clothing” in Christ’s house: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with others, forgiveness, and love. The church (meaning people in Christ) that demonstrates these qualities toward each other will be having Christ’s peace reign in them. Since the house or temple is formed in Christ, it is a holy temple. We are set apart or consecrated to God. Therefore, our way of life must reflect that we are set apart for the Holy One (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1). Since it is the house of God, it is the place in which God lives by his Spirit. Therefore, we must have a sense of his presence in his house. Whenever we are with one another, we must have a correct understanding of what is real in our assembly. There should be a proper sense of wonder and awe. “Wow! This is really neat! We have gathered together and God is here!” Think on 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Matthew 18:20).
How can the teaching of this text strengthen us in the life of faith? The consideration of Christ’s greatness leads to the confirmation of our faith and the production of a proper reverence in our hearts toward him. For example, knowledge of music and the thematic structure of a musical composition lead to a greater appreciation of a musical performance. Or participation in a team sport leads to confidence in and respect for the abilities of your teammates. As we by faith meditate on the Spirit’s revelation of Christ in the Scriptures, he develops “Christ appreciation” in us, which in turn strengthens us spiritually. We do not mean strength apart from Christ, which is a trap that many fall into, but becoming “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).
Learn to have confidence in our great high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Have confidence in the greatness of his office and the sufficiency of his sacrifice (Romans 8:33-34). Have confidence in your right to approach God through Christ (Matthew 11:28; John 6:37). What excellent promises are found in these verses!
Have confidence only in Christ.
- Some at first see their complete need of Christ, but then they think their Christian experience will carry them through. And so they suppose that their spiritual experience and use of what are called “the means of grace” (like prayer or reading the Bible) will serve them well. And that is why some do so poorly in their Christian walk. They rely on means, instead of relying on Christ personally.
- “No Christian can ever outlive the necessity of employing Christ as High Priest in all the steps of his life; and in the last step through death we must still lean upon this High Priest….” [Traill]
- An evidence of spiritual life is when a person sees his need of Jesus Christ; an evidence of a growing spiritual life is to find out that you need him more and more and more! Do you sense that you need the Lord Jesus more today than last year or five years ago or ten years ago?
- Have a joyful confidence in Jesus Christ! The bottom line of knowing that you have a great priest over the house of God is to rejoice in that great priest! Read these verses and then have a deep drink of the river of life (Philippians 4:4; Romans14:17-18; 15:13).
Grace and peace, David